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Non-profits wait for decision on local philanthropist’s estate

It is not uncommon for Woodland Hills residents to die in debt. When one who has outstanding liabilities passes away, those obligations remain with his or her estate. Whomever is appointed to administer the estate must settle those debts out of its assets before funds can be dispersed to beneficiaries. One form of debt that many may not view as such are promised donations. While it may seem counterintuitive that a financial gift could be viewed as a debt, when one pledges a donation, he or she is essentially promising to pay money to an organization. That agreement is viewed as a contract.

It is for this reason that several non-profit groups in Indiana are watching the estate proceedings of a recently deceased local trucking magnate with great interest. Several are listed amongst the man's creditors after he died while still owing an estimated $1.7 million in pledged donations. Many others are included in a list of his potential creditors, yet have yet to step up and make a claim. However, all of the man's creditors are currently in a veritable state of limbo as his family argues over his estate. His adult children are arguing that a revised will submitted shortly before his death should be invalidated. The new agreement nearly doubles his widow's interest in his estate. It is currently being determined if the man had sufficient mental capacity to make such a decision. That determination could also potentially affect the charities seeking to get paid, as several of the agreements he entered into with them occurred during this time his capacity was being questioned.

Any interested party to an estate no doubt wants to ensure that its portion of it is accounted for. Gaining such certainty may require the assistance of an experienced estate attorney.

Source: Indianapolis Business Journal “Charities caught in Celadon founder’s estate dispute” Colombo, Hayleigh, June 03, 2017

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